Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Does sharp, crisp and polished describe your tailored trousers? Are you frustrated with the wrinkles and creases that appear even after spending most of Sunday evening ironing your dress pants ready for the week? Now, get off the phone to your mum as we’ve got you covered with a complete guide filled with expert knowledge of how to iron your trousers providing a professional, sophisticated look to your wardrobe.
When it comes to suiting, one of the most important elements of owning one is the constant care and maintenance. While the Blazer usually gets most the attention, It is extremely important to take good care of your suit trousers to provide a stylish, dapper look.
A pair of creased pants will damage your style credibility as most can spot the difference, from a slight crease from the journey to work to a pair that haven’t had the luxury acquaintance of an iron. First impressions are huge in the corporate world so ensure that your rock a sharp, tailored suit as you stride into that interview, first day or meeting with confidence.
Dressing well is a form of good manners.
—Tom Ford, Fashion Designer
How to Iron Trousers
Whether your ironing dress trousers, chinos, jeans or some simple slacks, the principles of ironing remain the same. Firstly, it’s important invest in an iron that is of high quality and can reach temperatures that different fabrics demand. Check that the iron has multiple settings to change the heat temperature as desired as some suiting materials prefer cooler heats than others. A steam feature is also important to truly ensure that those stubborn creases vanish for good.
- Set up the ironing board to a comfortable height, locking the legs securely in place.
- Check the fabric of your trousers setting the iron to the correct heat – this information will be found on the care label.
- Fill the steam compartment and switch the iron settings to the required temperature. If in doubt set to a lower heat to avoid damage to your favourite pair of trousers.
- Leave to heat. To test safely flick a couple of drops of water onto the metal plate looking out for a sizzle indicating that the iron is hot enough.
- Begin by ironing the pockets. A strange request you may think but if the pockets are creased and you iron over them the amount of wrinkles will increase on the trouser. The easiest way to iron pockets is to pull them inside out and press flat.
- Next iron the waistband by sliding the trousers over the ironing board. With the pockets pulled out, press the iron firmly down onto the waistband waiting for a few seconds before lifting. Do not move the iron around – just simply press down. If any unwanted creases appear smooth out and iron flat.
- Lay the leg of the trouser flat on the ironing board and press. If very creased apply the heat on each wrinkle for a few seconds before lifting. Don’t forget to iron both sides of the pant leg.
- Iron in a crease by laying the pant leg on the ironing board with the inseams directly over each other. Don’t worry there is a more in depth instruction of this to follow.
- Leave your trousers to cool and don’t forget to switch off the iron.
Watch an in-depth demonstration of how to iron your suit trousers.
- Check your suit trousers for stains as the heat from the iron will set the mark into the fabric permanently. No one wants to see the remainders of your lunch from the previous week – it’s not a good look!
- Have a spray bottle of water to hand to help shift those stubborn creases. Spraying a gentle mist of water over the trouser leg will certainly help as will spraying a small amount as you gradually iron the complete leg.
- Depending on the fabric and shade, some trousers will develop and unwanted shine after ironing. A simple way to avoid this is to lay a towel over the trouser ironing the towel rather than the fabric. Make sure you spray the towel before laying over the trouser.
How to Add A Crease
The majority of tailored trousers have a vertical crease down the pant leg providing a very formal, sophisticated feel to the classic garment. When ironing it can become difficult to keep the pants crease with some managing to ironing the crease out all together and others creating a few different lines.
It is important that the crease is precise, exact and sharp, which fills many gents with fear. However, take a look at how to iron dress pants to rest assured that your trousers will remain crisp.
- Firstly, group together the four seams of the trouser and flatten the legs so that the natural folds indicate where the creases will be pressed.
- Lay the trousers on the ironing board with the furthest crease away from you and roll back the top leg just past the centre seam.
- Ensure that you smooth back the lower leg to be certain that there is no folds of fabric underneath.
- Place the point of the iron onto the crease starting at the bottom of the trouser working your way up to the top and move the iron in one full movement, using the free hand to make sure the crease remains in place.
- By working the iron backwards towards the centre seam you will successfully smooth the fabric. Again, the free hand will ensure that no unwanted fabric has creased during this process.
- Next, roll the top layer back into place, keeping the legs together slide the trousers forward so that the creases closest to you are on the board.
- Roll the top leg forward to reveal the rear crease smoothing this out to ensure that the bottom leg is flat.
- Press from the centre seam backwards carefully making sure that the whole leg is flat.
- Ensuring no rolling has occurred from the underneath leg, finish the crease about 2” from the waistband.
- Next roll the top leg back in place and carefully grab both legs by the front creases flipping the trousers over so the front crease is now facing you.
- Now roll back the new top leg, which should be the leg that you have already pressed. Smooth out the bottom leg like you did previously and iron in the creases repeating the process above.
Still confused? Watch how to carefully iron a crease into your suit trousers below.
When ironing your suit trousers it is important to consider the fabric of the trousers, which can be found on the care label. Various fabrics need different heat temperatures to avoid scorching or ruining the fabric.
Typically, an iron will have markings that will include the various fabrics to help you select the right heat for your trousers. However, if your iron does not include this feature follow our guide below – we can all agree that an iron shaped mark on the trouser leg is not a good look.
Please note that the temperatures are approximate guidelines and should always be tested by putting a cloth between the iron plate and the fabric.
- Cotton: 180-220 °C = * * * / High Heat
- Linen/Flax: 215-240 °C = * * * / High
- Viscose/Rayon: 150-180 °C = * * / Medium
- Wool: 160-170°C = * * / Medium
- Polyester: 140-155°C = * / Low
- Silk: 140-165 °C = * / Low
- Blend: When selecting the heat for a blended fabric, always choose the lowest (coolest) heat setting of the two materials to avoid damage.
Can You Iron a Suit?
Unless the suit specifies dry clean only, you can, in fact, iron a suit jacket to finish your sharp, polished look. Follow our steps on how to iron a suit jacket below and get those stubborn wrinkles out of your beloved suit.
- Lay the jacket flat on the ironing board to test the heat first on the lining of the jacket. Choose to carry out your test close to hem as if any unwanted marks appear it will be less visible.
- Turn the jacket face down onto the ironing board with the front panels hanging at each side. Lightly iron over the back of the jacket remembering to place a cloth under the heat plate and adopt a pressing technique rather than a dragging motion.
- Take it in turns to iron the front panels taking great care over the lapel areas, do not squash completely flat.
- Use a sleeve arm board to iron the sleeves ensuring not to over press and to avoid a crease down the sleeve arm.
How To Hang Dress Pants?
Once you have finished your ironing duties and your trousers are ironed to perfection it is important to consider how to hang your trousers to avoid unnecessary creasing. When hanging pants it’s important to ensure that they fall naturally and are not bunched up on the hanger.
Fold your trousers along the natural creases so both slack legs hang flat against each other. Opt for a hanger with clamps or slide over the trouser rod or regular hanger for great results. Take a look on how to hang dress pants properly.
First and foremost, let your clothes rest and revive. Do not wear a suit or shoes two days running. Both cloth and leather need time to breathe. Remember every time you sit down you are ironing a suit in the wrong places.
– Hardy Amies
What is a Trouser Press?
So, you have probably seen them in most hotel rooms and wondered how on earth you would use such a contraption. For those who don’t know, a trouser press is a rectangular device sometimes mounted to the wall and is used to get rid of pants creases in actually a very simple way. Intrigued? Find out more:
- Open the trouser press by raising the lever arms.
- Place the trousers feet in first.
- Smooth into position ensuring that the creases are in line.
- Whilst closing the press make sure that you hold the top of your trousers adding a gentle pull.
- Push on one of the lever arms to lock.
- The trousers will take approximately 15 to 45 minutes to press depending on the model type.
What are Pleats?
If you have a frown forming across your brow as you begin to ponder – what is a pleated pant? Stay tuned – all will become clear.
A pleat is simply a fold of fabric that is secured in place. In relation to trousers, the pleat is situated just under the waist band creating a relaxed, loose fit in comparison to a flat, slimmer style. When ironing, press the top section of the pleat but do not continue with this pressure as it will cause an unwanted crease.
Are Pleated Trousers in Style?
Men’s pleated dress pants have seen a revival in recent years with a modern twist. The pant leg is tapered to give a more contemporary, slimline shape to pleated slacks, which prevents you looking like your history teacher from the eighties.
The voluminous, looser fit has been successfully modernised to give an alternative trouser style for fashion conscious gents.
It’s all part of this slouchy movement that’s going on. Things are getting a little looser and easier, and pleated pants fit right in there. We’ve tapered them so they have a modern shape, I think it’s a new element to build upon, a classic element. It’s a great thing to pull into the present and make modern.
– Frank Muytjens, Head of Menswear Design at J.Crew
Flat Front vs Pleated Trousers
For a long time a skinny fit trouser has been the pant style of choice with many opting for a flat fronted pair of slacks. Many would question are pleated pants out of style with little evidence seen on the catwalk or in high street stores.
However, with the recent surge in pleated khaki pants more men are asking – pleats or no pleats? There is no clear answer as it all depends on style preference and the look you are aiming for. Either choose a slick, slimmer fit or a relaxed style to suit your look or even better, mix it up!
How to Iron Your Trousers Cheat Sheet
- Check the fabric label of your trousers setting the iron to the correct heat.
- Fill the steam compartment and switch the iron settings to the required temperature.
- Begin by ironing the pockets inside out and pressed flat.
- Next iron the waistband by sliding the trousers over the ironing board. Do not move the iron around – just simply press down.
- Lay the legs of the trouser flat on the ironing board and press.
- Leave your trousers to cool and don’t forget to switch off the iron.
On That Note
There you have it a complete guide of how to iron pants including the method, fabric and storage. It is worthwhile to fully understand how to iron slacks to ensure that your crisp, fresh look is intact at all times. Mens cotton pants can crease easily yet investing time into your presentation will ensure that ironing a suit will no longer become your Sunday evening chore.
Feature image from Pinterest